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Syria, Hamas Edge Israel Closer To Conflict

A serious incident took place Wednesday night, September 5, when an Israeli military aircraft reportedly entered Syrian airspace. Israel is denying the report, but Syria said it fired on the war plane while it was dropping munitions near the Syrian border with Turkey. Syria considers the violation an act of aggression and President Bashir Assad is weighing his response.

Earlier in the week, Hamas, operating out of the Gaza Strip, sent a barrage of missiles into Israel's border town, Sderot, hitting a kindergarten on the first day of school. Miraculously, no children were killed, but several were wounded. The senior leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, oversees operations from his offices in Damascus, Syria and it's probable that he directed Hamas to launch the missile strike.

Israel's response has been measured, with targeted killings continuing to take place against terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Israeli news analysts believe Syria is trying to use Hamas to drag Israel into a confrontation in Gaza, which would tie up some of Israel's Defense Forces in the south of the country. This would then put Israel in a weaker position in the north, thereby giving Syria a military advantage to try and grab the Golan Heights in any future confrontation with Israel.

It's possible that Israel's reported "flyover” Wednesday night was to put Syria on notice that Israel is in a state of readiness for war.

During the next few days, Israel is expected to continue its targeted killing policy against terrorists in Gaza....but with a definite eye on how Syria is going to respond in the north of the country.

This is the closest Israel has come to war with neighboring countries since the Second Lebanon War during the Summer of 2006.

C. Hart reports for ThreatsWatch from Jerusalem, Israel.

1 Comment

I agree somewhat that armed conflict is near. But there is a third front, Hizbollah in south Lebanon. The most recent Lebanese War depicted Israel as weakened militarily; however, this is a mistaken perception since the IDF was not fully mobilized. Though the rhetoric is aggressive, the opposing forces are aware of this and any armed conflict will be carefully measured. Remember Damascus is very close to the Golan Heights.